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Due to the exceptional global situation caused by the coronavirus (COVID-19), the opening date of Helsinki Biennial will be postponed. The first Helsinki Biennial will be held in the unique surroundings of Vallisaari Island 12.6.–26.9.2021.

Uwa Iduozee

FI/US
Everyday life and personal narratives are the core subjects in Uwa Iduozee’s work. His series of photographs in Helsinki Biennial tells the story of the first pioneering generation of Africans who made their home in Finland.

Uwa Iduozee (b. 1987) is a photographer and documentary filmmaker based in Helsinki and New York. His practice, derived from photojournalism, displays stories that open up new visual representations and understandings towards identities through series of photographs and documentary films. Everyday life and personal narratives are the core subjects in Iduozee’s work opening up into wider discourses around identity and acceptance within societal and cultural superstructures. History of Afro-Finnishness and black identities in contemporary Finland are recurrent topics in his recent work. Iduozee’s photographs and documentaries have been presented in numerous magazines, newspapers, broadcast TV, online publications and exhibitions in Finland and abroad.

Uwa Iduozee’s work They Walked on Water (2018) features portraits of people who arrived in Finland from the United States, the UK, Somalia, Sudan, Ethiopia and Nigeria between the 1950s and 1990s – people of the same generation as Iduozee’s parents. The work tells the story of the first pioneering generation of Africans who made their home in Finland. The original title was This is not how I imagined my life. Iduozee deliberately chose people who came to Finland not as children but as adults with their own hopes and dreams. 

Iduozee’s series of photographs is part of a larger project co-produced with writer Maryan Abdulkarim. Not wanting to document stories only in Finland, the artists travelled to Nigeria to collect further material.

The project was completed with the kind support of the Kone Foundation and the Finnish Cultural Foundation.

Photo: Sandra Itäinen